Isn't it odd how life goes on? The weather has been wild and woolly here in the south but also all the way up the East coast, and the midwest has had another storm, too.
This week was the one-year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti.
The climate of another sort - the national climate - is in flux this week, too, or at least people are talking about that possibility. Are we to become more thoughtful in our public discourse? Can we stop and think and care about our words and the effect the things we do and say have on others all the time and not just in the aftermath of high profile violence?
And yet, life is going on. Babies are being born, kids are playing rec league basketball, bus drivers are ferrying passengers around, students are doing homework, parents are grocery shopping, cows are grazing, waves are crashing and birds are flying.
When I was young and dramatic, I couldn't understand why everything did not stop when something horrible or huge or happy happened. Time needed to stand still, everyone needed to suspend their mundane activities and pay attention. Rapt attention, if the subject was moi, as Miss Piggy says.
Otherwise, won't we forget?
If we don't stop and mark the occasion by spending some real time with it, instead of quickly moving on to the next thing, won't we forget how we felt, what we said, what we saw, what we did that time we were in crisis, were in pain, were in the throes of exquisite but delicate joy?
It takes a while for one to mature enough to be able to go on after something big. But the way we go on is not to ignore it. Rather it is to allow the new/big/sad/happy/experience to become part of us, incorporated into our being in ways that affect nearly everything - world view, habits, understanding, knowledge, wisdom.
We grow - or at least we can grow - from all of our experiences, personal and corporate.
And so we can't set them in the curio cabinet, separate, disconnected from life. We carry our joy, our grief, our worry, our contentment with us as we go on with life, if we are willing. We are certainly capable. We have an amazing, God-given capacity for growth, for stretching, to accommodate all kinds of new experiences, feelings, insights, knowledge, wisdom, abilities and capabilities.
We become better people, we grow into what God made us to be, by incorporating all that we do and see and hear and live out into our own beings. To take it all in and be changed - by love, by grief, by knowledge, by joy, by wisdom.
Be ye transformed, Jesus says. That's what going on, but going on differently because of our experience or insight or wisdom, is about. It takes courage to be transformed, though.
Courage is going on despite our fears, now allowing our fears to rule us, to hold us back, to imprison us and make us smaller and smaller.
So, are we different after this week?
Have we been transformed in some way by what we have experienced, individually and corporately?
Will we go on as if nothing happened
or as if the world as we know it has irrevocably changed?